07/03/2013 10:30 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Best Cheese and Wine in the World: Sunstone Winery hosts Cowlgirl Creamery and The Wisconsin Cheeseman

By Nancy and James Chuda founders of LuxEcoLiving and Healthy Child Healthy World

Sunstone Winery hosts LuxEcoLiving's Best Cheese and Wines of the World event. James Chuda, Rebecca Foster, Bion Rice, Linda Grey Heitz, Anna Rice, Nancy Chuda, Debbie Nowlin and Amazon John Easterling. Photo Courtesy of LuxEcoLiving Media Group

What happens when you pair artisan farmstead cheese from Cowgirl Creamery in northern California with some of the finest master cheesemakers from The Wisconsin Cheeseman and you add the finest varietal wines, both reds and white, from one the most magnificent wineries in the world?

Sunstone Winery is nothing short of spectacular. From ambiance to taste there is no greater pleasure than to celebrate the organic jewels of the vine with family and friends thanks to Bion and Anna Rice.

Make sure to WATCH and find out if there is a difference between the words, complete and finished. IMPORTANT marital advice. Viewer discretion is needed.


"Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing." Ernest Hemingway

It takes an alchemist to understand the blending of grapes. Bion Rice, owner of Sunstone Winery, understands nature plays a big part of that blend... and the rest is pure magic.

NGC- Do you consider yourself an alchemist of wine?
BR-No, more and Artiste. My winemaking style takes a right brained, highly sensory, non-scientific approach.
NGC-How much does Mother Nature play her hand in the process?
BR-Without Nature I would have no paint to paint with.
NGC-How difficult is it to receive a CCOF organic label and why did you decide this was important?
BR- Organic farming is challenging and can be more costly. Environmentalism is very important to me personally and to the entire company and most of our consumers, but making great wine is more important to consumers in general.
NGC- What makes Sunstone unique?
BR- The location. The Terroir. The vineyard and the Villa are gorgeous and make people feel like they have been transported to Europe.
NGC-What is your favorite wine?
BR-Currently Viognier of the whites, Grenache of the Roses and well made Merlots for red. But blends are always intriguing.

Cheese is "milks leap to immortality" Clifton Fadiman

From our anthropomorphic origins, breath is fire, immutable and radiant. The savoring of cheese paired with wine enlightens all the senses. From creamy to hard, soft to buttery, stinky and pungent, cows, ewes, and goats have provided a plethora of planetary delights.

Cheese has a unique history

The legend of how cheese was first discovered has an appropriately exotic and romantic ring to it. Thousands of years ago, it is told, an Asian nomad set out on a journey by horse and camel, transporting milk in a leather pouch made from a calf"s stomach. After many hours or rhythmic jogging in the warm sun, the rider grew thirsty and when he looked inside his saddlebag, the milk had turned into curds. From that moment on, cheese became an important way to preserve surplus milk. Today, we know that it is the enzyme "rennin" which comes from rennet, a substance in the lining of calves stomachs that causes the solids in milk to coagulate. In fact, Little Miss Muffet's curds and whey were in fact very fresh cheese in its earliest stage of transformation.

Speaking of transformation, here's how the Cowgirl Creamery came into being. Susie Conley and Peggy Smith have much to be proud of. Looking for a new challenge in the early 1990's, they found a picturesque postage-stamp-of-a-town on the California coast north of San Francisco. Pt. Reyes Station is now legendary. Two decades, dozens of awards, two creameries, four retail stores and two thousand tons of cheese later, Peggy and Sue have more than earned their Cowgirl Hall of Fame for cheese and their 10-gallon hats.

Peggy and Sue earned their 10 gallon hats. Founders of Cowgirl Creamery Cheese. Photo credit Cowgirl Creamery

It was a tasteful romance, love at first site. Beginning with Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam, Point Reyes Farmstead, Original Blue, Bellwether Farms, Carmody, Valley Ford Cheese Company, Estero Gold and Redwood Farm, California Crottin- all were served with Cowgirl Creamery Sea Salt and Olive Oil Crackers made by Rustic Bakery in Larkspur California.

The Wisconsin Cheeseman produces the best motherlode of cheese selections in the world. Meet my Cheesemonger Champions, Mary and Richard Nohr. They are well suited for each other and Mary is from Wisconsin.

You can't ask for better friends especially when they really know cheese. Richard and Mary Nohr at Sunstone Winery. Photo credit LuxEcoLiving Media Group

MAKE ROOM for The Wisconsin Cheeseman's selections. Master Cheesemakers from Green County Wisconsin have won over 600 medals, 79 World champion medals and over 500 US awards.

OMG! When Al, our friendly UPS man showed up at our door I thought he brought the entire state of Wisconsin. I have never seen such an amazing assortment of cheeses.


Backed by over 160 years of cheesemaking, Wisconsin is the only state that requires a licensed cheesemaker to monitor every pound of cheese made in the state. Photo courtesy of The Wisconsin Cheeseman

Beginning with master cheese maker's Steve Stettler's Horseradish Havarti... which by the way, won the most outstanding taste at our Cheesemonger Event.

Followed by his Colby Swiss, Farmers Cheese and Red Rind Munster. Decatur Dairy is a 70 year old dairy in which Steve crafts his award winning cheese. Backed by over 160 years of cheesemaking, Wisconsin is the only state that requires a licensed cheesemaker to monitor every pound of cheese made in the state.

The Wisconsin Cheesemen provided this delectable sampling. Master Cheesemaker, Bruce Workman and Jeff Widemen provided their custom crafted, handmade cheeses which have all received the highest honors and awards.

If you are feeling a little left out and want to have your own Cheesemonger and Wine Party here's how. Contact Sunstone Winery and purchase the wines we served. Sign up and become members at Cowgirl Creamery and The Wisconsin Cheeseman and they will ship you all the cheeses we served. Don't forget to tell us which is your favorite pairing and you may get invited to our next Cheesemonger Event.

Happy Trails to you until we meet again, keep smiling until then.

Written by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

James and Nancy Chuda hosts and founders of LuxecoLiving. Custom wine leather saddle bag by Rick Laymen. Photo courtesy of LuxEcoLiving Media Group

Coming up, part two of The Best of Wine and Cheese in the World. Sunstone Winery presents A Summer Solstice Day in the Country. It's a surprise!